Big names, classic plays, family dramas, splashy musicals — the second half of the 2012-’13 Broadway season has something for everyone. Stars from film and television like Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Shia LaBeuof, Alec Baldwin, Bette Midler, Laurie Metcalfe, Cicely Tyson and Holland Taylor will be headlining productions on topics as wide ranging as corruption in Hollywood, sexual repression, fairy-tale romance and the history of Motown. There’s family-friendly fare (Matilda, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella), classic revivals (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Picnic), new looks at old favorites (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), one-woman shows (Ann, I’ll Eat You Last), and new plays (The Assembled Parties, The Nance). Here’s a breakdown of the exciting and diverse season ahead.
The Other Place
Samuel J. Friedman Theater
Now in Previews, Opens Jan. 10
The Broadway new year begins with a production that’s not quite a new play and not quite a revival. The Other Place, Sharr White’s psychological thriller, was presented Off-Broadway by the Manhattan Class Company in 2010 with Laurie Metcalfe as a troubled scientist dealing with the alienated affections of her daughter and husband. But nothing is as it seems in this taut drama. Manhattan Theater Club will present a Broadway production at its home, the Samuel Friedman Theatre, now in previews and opening Jan. 10. Metcalfe returns in her Obie-winning role with a new cast led by Daniel Stern (City Slickers, Diner), Zoe Perry and John Sciappa.
American Airlines Theater
Now in previews, Opens Jan. 13
A hunky drifter disrupts the well-ordered lives of a group of small-town women during a Labor Day celebration in William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize winning play. Sebastian Stan (Once Upon a Time, Gossip Girl) is the sexy newcomer and Maggie Grace (Lost, Twilight saga) is the local beauty who falls for him. This Roundabout Theatre Company production also stars Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn, Emmy winner Mare Winingham, Elizabeth Marvel and Reed Birney.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Richard Rodgers Theater
Now in Previews, Opens Jan. 17
Tony winner Scarlett Johansson stars in this Tennessee Williams sizzler as Maggie the Cat, the frustrated wife of former football star Brick (Benjamin Walker of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), who is mourning the death of his closeted gay teammate and abandoning his marriage bed. While scheming to regain her husband’s favor, Maggie also maneuvers to get back in the good graces of Brick’s wealthy family, headed by the dying Big Daddy (played Ciarin Hinds of HBO’s Rome).
Manilow on Broadway
St. James Theater
Previews begin Jan. 18, Opens Jan. 24
He is music and he writes the songs. Grammy winning singer-songwriter Barry Manilow gets back to his New York roots for a limited-engagement concert playing through Feb. 23. He’ll be crooning such hits as “I Can’t Smile Without You,” “Mandy” and, of course, “Copacabana.” The megastar got his start accompanying Bette Midler, who will also be playing Broadway this season (see more about her show, I’ll Eat You Last, below).
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Previews begin Jan. 25, Opens March 3
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is a family-friendly stage version of the legendary team’s TV adaptation of the original fairy tale, which has been produced for the airwaves three times (1957 with Julie Andrews; 1965 with Lesley Ann Warren; and 1991 with Brandy). This edition features the memorable R&H score plus additions from their classic canon and a new book by Douglas Carter Beane (Xanadu, Lysistrata Jones). Laura Osnes (Bonnie and Clyde, Anything Goes, Grease) is the titular kitchen-drudge-turned-glamour-gal and Santino Fontana (Sons of the Prophet, The Importance of Being Earnest) is her Prince Charming. Tony winners Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Mille) and Victoria Clarke (The Light in the Piazza) co-star as the wicked stepmother and fairy godmother, respectively.
Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Previews begin Feb. 17, Opens March 7
Depending on their political persuasion, the late Texas governor Ann Richards was viewed as a fairy godmother by some and a wicked stepmother by others. Make up your mind when Emmy winner Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men, The Practice) portrays the formidable power player in her one-woman show Ann, which she also wrote. Previews at the Vivian Beaumont commence Feb. 17 and the show opens March 7.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Previews begin March 4, Opens March 20
We travel from Texas to glamorous Manhattan in the 1940s for a new version of Truman Capote’s beloved novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Richard Greenberg’s stage adaptation of the tale of bubbly Holly Golighty. Emilia Clark (HBO’s Game of Thrones) plays Holly, the role made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie version. Cory Michael Smith (Cock, The Whale) and Emmy nominee George Wendt (Cheers) co-star.
Hands on a Hard Body
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
Previews begin Feb. 23, Opens March 21
The Lone Star State gets the Broadway treatment again in Hands on a Hardbody, a musical derived from the unlikely source material of the documentary of the same name, which followed contestants in a last-man-standing endurance competition to win a truck . The cast includes Keith Carradine (The Will Rogers Follies and Oscar winner for Best Song, “I’m Easy” from Nashville), Hunter Foster (Million Dollar Quartet) and Allison Case (Hair revival). The show parks on Broadway after a successful run at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse.
Previews begin March 1, Opens April 1
Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks makes his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy, the late Nora Ephron’s play about New York journalist Mike McAlary, directed by double Tony winner George C. Wolfe (Angels in America). Hanks will be joined by Courtney B. Vance (Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Fences), Maura Tierney (The Good Wife, ER) and his Bosom Buddies co-star Peter Scolari.
Al Hirschfeld Theatre
Previews begin March 3, Opens April 4
On their 1980s sitcom Bosom Buddies, Hanks and Scolari played roommates posing as women in order to live in an all-female residence hall. Since then cross-dressing characters have become more prevalent and are now regularly treated as three-dimensional beings rather than punchlines. Kinky Boots is the latest in a long line of musicals with drag protagonists. Based on the 2005 British film, the show will feature a book by Harvey Fierstein (who performed similar duties on La Cage Aux Folles) and a score by pop icon Cyndi Lauper.
Previews begin March 4, Opens April 11
One of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season, Matilda, based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel, is the biggest hit London audiences have seen in years. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production about a little girl who uses magic to overcome nasty parents and cruel teachers opened in 2010 at Stratford-on-Avon, then transferred to the West End’s Cambridge Theater where it won seven Olivier Awards, including Best Musical. The Broadway edition will star four young actresses alternating in the title role.
Pump Boys and Dinettes
Circle In The Square Theatre
Previews begin March 19, Opens April 13
Country-western twangs will rise from the Circle In the Square Theatre when the revival of Pump Boys and Dinettes opens in April. This honky-tonk songfest, which ran off-and-on Broadway in the 1980s, takes places on a typical day at a North Carolina diner where waitresses and gas station attendants celebrate their easygoing lifestyle with music.
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Previews begin March 19, Opens April 13
Shia LaBeouf makes his Broadway debut in this revival of Lyle Kessler’s Orphans, in which he plays a misguided, parentless youth who kidnaps a gangster (Alec Baldwin, returning to the stage) to serve as a mentor for him and his younger brother. The play opened Off-Broadway in 1985 in a hit production from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, launching the film and TV careers of John Mahoney, Terry Kinney, Kevin Anderson and Gary Sinise, who directed.
Motown the Musical
Previews begin, Opens April 14
Motown the Musical traces the career and influence of larger-than-life record mogul Berry Gordy, who launched the careers of the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smoky Robinson and many others. The cast is headed up by Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) as Gordy and Valisia LeKae as Diana Ross.
The Big Knife
American Airlines Theatre
Previews begin March 22, Opens April 16
Another revival, Clifford Odets’ The Big Knife follows a Hollywood star as he confronts the phoniness of his profession. The Roundabout Theatre Company production stars Bobby Canavale in his second outing of the season, having appeared opposite Al Pacino in a limited run of Glengarry Glen Ross. This is also the second go-around for Odets, whose Golden Boy plays at the Belasco through Jan. 20 as part of Lincoln Center Theater’s season.
Previews begin March 12, Opens April 15
Another Broadway two-timer this season is playwright Douglas Carter Beane, whose book for Cinderella will be followed by his new play The Nance, starring Nathan Lane (The Producers) as a performer playing stereotypically effeminate characters in 1930s burlesque.
The Assembled Parties
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Previews begin March 19, Opens April 17
Manhattan Theatre Club continues its season with The Assembled Parties by Tony winner Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out, The American Plan), yet another Broadway double-player; his Breakfast at Tiffany’s opens earlier in the season. Judith Light (Other Desert Cities, Lombardi) and Jessica Hecht (A View from the Bridge, Harvey) headline this drama about an Upper West Side Jewish family whose holiday season is shaken up by an unexpected visitor. Jeremy Shamon (Clybourne Park), Mark Blum (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man) and Sam Robards (HBO’s Treme) also star.
The Testament of Mary
Walter Kerr Theatre
Previews begin March 26, Opens April 22
British stage actress Fiona Shaw will star as a woman struggling with family problems (albeit of a very different kind) in The Testament of Mary. Shaw, who is known as the nasty muggle aunt of Harry Potter and for tragic stage heroines Medea and Electra, will play the Virgin Mary in this monologue by acclaimed author Colm Tiobin. The play takes place in Ephesus, where Mary has gone after the crucifixion to tell her version of her son’s story. Previews begin March 31, Opens April 23.
The Trip to Bountiful
Stephen Sondheim Theatre
There’s more family dysfunction in the revival of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful starring Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Cicely Tyson (The Autobiography of Miss Jan Pittman, Sounder, The Help) as Carrie Watts, an elderly woman running away from her son and daughter-in-law’s oppressive Houston apartment to the Gulf Coast town of her youth. Cuba Gooding, Jr., Vanessa Williams and Condola Roashad also star.
I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers
Previews TBA, Opens April 24
Bette Midler returns to Broadway–but not in a musical concert as she did in her last show, Divine Madness, in 1979. The Divine Miss M will be doing a solo act, and not as herself. In I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers by John Logan (Tony winner for Red), she plays super-agent Mengers, whose overbearing ways made her almost as famous as her clients. The opening is set for April 24 at a Shubert theater to be announced.
The Miss Firecracker Contest
Theater and dates TBA
Amber Tamblyn has been announced to star in a revival of The Miss Firecracker Contest, Beth Henley’s 1984 comedy about a lonely young Southern woman pinning her hopes on winning the title contest. Two-time Tony winning actress Judith Ivey (currently in The Heiress) will make her Broadway debut as a director.
The Velocity of Autumn
Theaters and dates TBA
This two-character play by Eric Coble stars Oscar winner Estelle Parsons as an elderly woman refusing to leave her Brooklyn brownstone and Tony winner Stephen Spinella (Angels in America, Lincoln) as her estranged son.
Music Box Theatre
Previews begin March 23, Opens April 25
The season concludes with a revival of the long-running 1970s hit Pippin, opening April 25 at the Music Box Theater with previews beginning on March 23. Currently playing at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., this new staging by Diane Paulus (Porgy and Bess) places the story of a nonconformist prince in a circus setting. Matthew James Thomas (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) plays the title character with Patina Miller (Sister Act), Andrea Martin (My Favorite Year, Young Frankenstein), Terrence Mann (Cats, Les Miserables) and Charlotte d’Ambois (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) also starring. This production will feature tightrope-walking, acrobatics, juggling, and magic—a fitting wrap-up for this diverse, three-ring Broadway season.